When is it Appropriate to Wear Leggings?

With the rise of athleisure and the emergence of shaping leggings, it has become fashionable and socially acceptable to wear leggings as a substitute for jeans. While wearing leggings as pants is appropriate in obvious circumstances like going to the gym, cosplay, and others, is it okay to wear leggings outside the gym or your home?

Obviously, there are times when other kinds of bottoms like jeans, shorts, and skirts are better clothing options over leggings. But on days when you just want to feel comfortable and cozy without looking inappropriate, how do you pull off wearing leggings? Here are a few tips that can help:

Wear leggings that fit correctly

Sometimes, leggings are deemed inappropriate because a lot of people tend to wear them in the wrong size. This can result in a bulgy or baggy look that can make your overall attire appear frumpy and unpolished. Leggings are stretchable, but it’s still a good idea to buy them in your size so that they look flattering on you. There are leggings designed for plus-sized women and even leggings with shaping properties that are available on the market. The right fit can make a huge difference.

Make sure that the leggings are completely opaque

Many cheap leggings can be made of fabric that is of terrible quality and can easily rip after a few washes. Moreover, leggings with this type of fabric also tend to be sheer. There are also clothing brands that create footless tights and pass them off as leggings, even if leggings are supposed to be completely opaque.

If you’re worried about the quality of your leggings or if you think that you might actually be wearing tights, there is a way to gauge the opacity of your leggings. Put them on, sit down, and do a few squats to see how the leggings look in front of the mirror. If you can see your skin or if the color of your underwear starts becoming more visible through the stretched fabric, wear jeans instead.

If you plan to wear your leggings as pants, make sure that it doesn’t expose or highlight the groin area. Sometimes, leggings with sheer or thin fabric can show off a bit more than you’d like or more than you’re comfortable with. Thoroughly check if your leggings give you a camel toe as well. If it does, your leggings are too thin and are not appropriate to wear outside of your house.

Check the dress code first

Before wearing leggings to more professional settings like work or school, take a look at the dress code first. There can be rules that prohibit wearing leggings that you might not be aware of. If there are, definitely stick with jeans or slacks. On the other hand, feel free to wear thick and opaque leggings if the dress code doesn’t have rules against it.

Dress your leggings up in different ways

While the obvious way to wear leggings is to treat them like pants, there are other ways to rock them. Leggings can be a great substitute for tights as they cling to your legs and keep them warm. Pair your leggings with a dress and ankle boots so you can give them a more sophisticated look. You can also wear them under a pair of denim cut-offs and sneakers if you want a spunkier style.

Sometimes, being a bit more creative in how you style your leggings can make them more appropriate for certain occasions. After all, people don’t always need to know if you’re wearing leggings or not—it can be your comfy little secret.

Get honest advice from your fashion-conscious friends

If you’re not sure about how appropriate leggings will be for a certain situation, don’t be afraid to ask your more fashion-conscious friends for help. It is especially important that you ask what their honest thoughts are, as they can have tips that will help you rock your leggings without committing a fashion faux pas.

Send photos of the complete outfit—leggings included—that you’re planning to wear and ask them if it’s appropriate for an event or place. If their answers are anything besides a “yes”, then leggings are likely not the right choice.

Be careful with printed leggings

Printed leggings are a fun way to revamp your usual outfits. They’re loud and eye-catching, which also means that they may not always fit the occasion. Leggings with large graphic prints are fine if you’re going to the gym or meeting with friends, but it might be too distracting to wear to work or a formal party. Before going out while wearing printed leggings, check that the fabric’s designs don’t direct too much attention to the crotch area.

Just like all clothes, there is a time and place when it’s okay to wear leggings and vice versa. Follow these tips, and you’ll have an easier time deciding if your most comfortable pair of leggings fits the occasion.